Memorial fund established in his honor
June 27, 2019. Louisville, KY – Hearts are heavy this week at the Kentucky Derby Festival as the organization mourns the loss of Mike Ziemianski (Zuh-man-ski), a longtime volunteer and Board Member who was to serve as Chair for the 2021 Festival. Ziemianski, known simply as “Mike Z” or “Z” by those he worked with at the Festival, passed away on June 25 after a brief battle with cancer.
“Mike loved the Kentucky Derby Festival – a fact that was obvious as he volunteered for numerous events over the course of 20-plus years,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. “Our KDF link has been broken with his passing but we have been blessed to know and work alongside a truly good man in making our community a better place.”
Ziemianski, 63, grew up in Rossford, Ohio. After attending Saint Meinrad College in Indiana, he worked for Mercy Academy in Louisville providing retreat experiences for the students. In 1989, he began his professional association with Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology, which lasted for more than 25 years. During his tenure there, he served as the Director of Annual Giving, the Director of Development for 13 years, and since 2008 as the Vice-President for Development
Ziemianski believed strongly in community service. In 1997, he began volunteering for the Kentucky Derby Festival and was named “Volunteer of the Year” in 2003. He became a member of the Derby Festival’s Board of Directors in 2004, joined the Executive Board in 2013 and was to serve as the Festival’s 2021 Board Chair.
Ziemianski served on committees for several Derby Festival events and programs, including Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville, Thunder Over Louisville, Kentucky Proud WineFest, Festival Unveiled, Nominating Committee, Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, Basketball Classic, Volunteer Committee, Administration Committee, Pegasus Pins and BB&T Great BalloonFest.
The Kentucky Derby Festival is setting up a fund within the KDF Foundation to receive memorial contributions. This fund will ultimately be used to purchase a public gift to honor Ziemianski. Donations can be sent to the KDF Foundation, c/o Carl Mittelsten, 1001 South Third Street, Louisville, KY 40203.
Friday, June 28: Visitation 3-8 p.m. Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m. Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home, Georgetown, IN. Saturday, June 29: Visitation 10-11 a.m. Mass 11 a.m. Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, KY. Tuesday, July 2: Visitation 9:30-11 a.m. Mass 11 a.m. All Saints Catholic Church, Rossford, OH. Burial in Ft. Meigs Cemetery.